The final piece of the 2023 LMDh puzzle is here. Acura finally showed off its new prototype race car, the ARX-06 without camouflage on Wednesday and like all of its LMDh counterparts, it's a stunner. The coolest part? How about its 10,000-rpm (!) 2.4-liter twin-turbo V-6?
For a quick refresher, LMDh is a joint creation by IMSA and the ACO, governing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It's an evolution of IMSA's current DPi prototype class—in which Acura races the ARX-05—with an LMP2-derived chassis coming from one of a handful of specified suppliers, and engine and bodywork from an automaker. LMDh adds a spec hybrid system consisting of batteries from Williams Advanced Engineering, motor-generator unit (MGU) and control electronics from Bosch, and a transaxle from XTrac.
Engine regulations are fairly relaxed in LMDh, with dimensions and weight specified, a noise limit of 110 decibels, and a rev limit of 10,000 rpm. The engine doesn't need to be based on a production car unit, and Acura is taking advantage of the freedom allowed with a bespoke engine designed by Honda Performance Development (HPD). Called the AR24e, the engine uses an unusual 90-degree vee-angle to help keep the center of gravity low, and HPD says its 2.4-liter displacement makes it the smallest engine its ever built for endurance racing. (Honda's IndyCar V-6 displaces 2.2 liters, per the series regulations.)
When combined with the hybrid system, the ARX-06 will make between 644 and 697 hp at the rear wheels, as dictated by Balance of Performance. Acura isn't saying how much of that power comes from the MGU and how much comes the V-6. LMDh regulations state that the MGU can output a maximum of 40 hp and smaller tracks, and 67 hp at tracks like Daytona and Le Mans. No minimum output for the MGU is specified.
The chassis comes from Oreca, which supplies the underpinnings for the soon-retiring ARX-05. Both Meyer-Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor racing will campaign the ARX-06 in next year's IMSA SportsCar Championship, and while the car can run in World Endurance Championship events, including Le Mans Acura has no plans to do so yet.
Acura won the championship in 2019 and 2020, and it will more than likely do the same this year, so it's in a strong spot for next year. Still, it'll be up against current rival Cadillac, and promising new entries from BMW and Porsche. Lamborghini will join the party in 2024.
We can't wait to hear the ARX-06 at Daytona, Sebring, and with any hope, Le Mans.
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